Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review: Lockwood & Co., Book 2 The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

Ages 8-12
In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.
Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom.
Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.
The author of the blockbuster Bartimaeus series delivers another amusing, chilling, and ingeniously plotted entry in the critically acclaimed Lockwood & Co. series.
Praise for The Screaming Staircase
"This story will keep you reading late into the night, but you'll want to leave the lights on. Stroud is a genius at inventing an utterly believable world which is very much like ours, but so creepily different. Put The Screaming Staircase on your 'need to read' list!" -Rick Riordan
"A pleasure from tip to tail, this is the book you hand the advanced readers that claim they'd rather read Paradise Lost than Harry Potter. Smart as a whip, funny, witty, and honestly frightening at times, Stroud lets loose and gives readers exactly what they want. Ghosts, kids on their own without adult supervision, and loads of delicious cookies." -Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal
"Stroud shows his customary flair for blending deadpan humor with thrilling action, and the fiery interplay among the three agents of Lockwood & Co. invigorates the story (along with no shortage of creepy moments)." -Publishers Weekly
"A heartily satisfying string of entertaining near-catastrophes, replete with narrow squeaks and spectral howls." -Kirkus Reviews

I don't like to read horror stories usually, but I do like mysteries so I decided to give this book a try.

In Lockwood & Co., Book 2 The Whispering Skull, during an assignment, Lucy, George and Lockwood come across a haunted mirror. Before they could have DEPRAC dispose of it, however, the object was stolen. Now, it's a race against time, and other agents they are in competition with, to find the mirror before it falls into the wrong hands.

I usually look at page numbers before I start reading e-books and this one clocked in at over 400 pages. Usually, I end up bored halfway in, but with this book, I hardly even felt how long it was. It felt like it had the right amount of pages to tell an interesting story and that everything was necessary to the story.

Part of the length of the book is because everything is described using very vivid descriptions. Some people don't like that, but usually, I find it very helpful. The descriptions really help you to picture what's going on in the book and helps create the appropriate atmosphere for each scene. It's the closest thing you'll probably get to a movie version of this book, until someone decides to option it.

Despite the different ghosts and hauntings mentioned in the book, I don't think young children will find it too frightening. The mystery aspect of the book was more interesting for me, and I think that's what most kids will like too.

Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the e-ARC. Publication date of Lockwood & Co., Book 2 The Whispering Skull is on September 16, 2014.


  1. It's easy to imagine the scenes in the book.
  2. It's a real page-turner.
  3. It's slightly creepy and very entertaining. 


  1. It's a little bit too long to read in one sitting. 


  1. You like mysteries.
  2. You are fascinated by different takes on the supernatural world.
  3. You like spy novels. 




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